Combatting Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

Swollen feet is super-common during pregnancy, but that doesn't mean you have to put up with the pain. Find relief with these expert tips.
profile picture of Micky Marie Morrison, PT, ICPFE
ByMicky Marie Morrison, PT, ICPFE
Contributing Writer
Apr 2017
pregnancy swollen feet
Photo: Giorgia Cuozzo / Getty Images

Pregnancy can be uncomfortable, to say the least. The only thing worse than trying to maneuver around with your growing bump is trying to do so with swollen, achy feet and legs.

In rare instances, swelling and pain in the legs can indicate a serious condition. If you have swelling or pain in only one leg or if swelling comes on suddenly, you should contact your doctor immediately. Otherwise, you probably have the normal swelling associated with pregnancy, which can be greatly improved with a few simple strategies.

Here are three big things you can do to help combat swollen feet and legs during pregnancy:

1. Get your legs up. Try to get off your feet and put your feet up above the level of the heart several times throughout the day for a few minutes at a time. If you can manage to do it once an hour, it will work wonders. If you work at a desk job, try to at least get your feet up onto another chair or a stool.

2. Move it, mama! The muscles in your legs work like a pump to move fluid upward toward your heart, so moving your feet while you have them propped up maximizes the effect. If you’re able to lay down with your legs up against the wall and make circles with your feet for three to five minutes, three to five times a day, you’ll likely cure your swollen feet. Doing other simple foot and ankle exercises like these can also help pump the fluid out of your feet and lower legs.

3. Wear compression stockings. If you have to be on your feet for hours throughout the day, or if you experience persistent swelling even when implementing the other interventions, you should try wearing knee-high or thigh-high compression tights. These special socks have graduated pressure form the foot upward to help prevent the pooling of fluid in the feet and lower legs.

Watch the video below for step-by-step instructions for these tips:

Q&A: Mood Swings During Pregnancy?

Maria Kammerer
Certified Nurse-Midwife

How to Help Your Partner Feel Baby Kick

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor

Metallic Taste During Pregnancy

Debra Goldman, MD

How to Cope With Sciatica During Pregnancy

Erin Nance, MD
President and Founder of Nance MD

Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

Paula Kashtan and Sarah Yang

Back Pain During Pregnancy

Michele Hakakha, MD

Varicose Veins in Vulva?

The Bump Editors

Will Pregnancy Change Your Feet… Permanently?

Elena Donovan Mauer
Contributing Writer

Q&A: Why Is My Hair Falling Out?

Lara Simondi